Friday, December 3, 2010

Giants: Random thoughts going into Redskins game

I wrote little about the Redskins game coming up this weekend because, although it is a big game, (week 13, home division game, 1/2 game behind the division leaders) I don't think Washington is a very good team and I will be very disappointed if the Giants lose. McNabb has a strong arm, throws down the field well and can still move around a little bit in the pocket. McNabb has beaten the Giants the past few years, but on the Redskins it is a different story. The Eagles teams were loaded with talent and the Redskins are not. Their OL is rather pedestrian and their WRs are not really big play threats. Santana Moss is a good WR but is not in the class of DeSean Jackson or Maclin as deep threats. The Redskins running game is injured with their top RBs, including Portis, out and a less that imposing run blocking OL leading the way. McNabb likes to get the ball deep but is not the most accurate passer on medium and short balls. Giants defensive strategy does not have to be very exotic or risky against McNabb. The pass rush should get some pressure without too much blitzing and the DB-field, while they want to keep everything in front of them, do not have to be ultra-conservative and play only zone. Mixing it up against McNabb should be effective and let the better athletes that the Giants have on the defensive side of the ball win their individual battles against the Redskins offense. Redskins do not have a very effective power running game, so I can see Fewell sticking with 3 S alignment often. Having said that, Shanahan does like to run the ball with whomever he has as tailback with his power zone blocking techniques, so we should see a bit more of the conventional 4-DL, 3-LB alignments this week.

On the other side of the ball, the Redskins are statistically the worst defense in football, giving up more than 400 yards per game. Defensive statistics are sometimes very misleading because they have to be considered in the entire context of the game - how good is the offense, how many close games do they play, how many points do you give up, how good is your punter, how many turnovers does your offense give up, etc. In other words, if one defense is ranked 8th, for example and another is ranked 12th or 13th, the number 8 defense is not necessarily much better than the 12th or 13th. However, when you're last.... you're last. They may not actually be the worst defense in the league, but they're close. I put a lot of this on the coach, because the Redskins had a pretty good defense last year with a stud DT in Haynesworth, a real strong young player in DE Orakpo on the edge and a very strong DB-field with Rogers and Hall at CB and Landry at S. They are slowing down at LB, but still had a solid defense. Then the new coach, Shanahan comes in and without evaluating the personnel and its fit for doing so, switches to a 3-4 defense. He then had the well reported problems with Haynesworth who announced that he was ticked off because he's not a good 3-4 DT (he's right). He also had to switch Orakpo to OLB, a position he is still learning and not sure if he's a good fit for. Though Hall had a few huge games at CB, both he and Rogers have taken a little step backwards and while S LaRon landry has had a great year, he is likely lost for the year with an injury. In summary, their defense is a mess.

Add in the poorly managed benching of McNabb in the 2 minute offense for future HOF QB Rex Grossman and you have a team with little talent and lots of key injuries that doesn't trust its coach. Not a formula for success. Giants should win this Sunday.

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